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BI and analytics to remain top CIO focus

Solutions to help improve firms' decision-making such as business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools are set to remain a top priority for chief information officers (CIOs) until at least 2017.

This is according to a new report from Gartner, which predicted that the benefits of big data analytics will be recognized by business managers across a wide range of disciplines, including marketing, sales, supply chain management, manufacturing, risk assessment, human resources and more.

They will therefore be putting additional pressures on their IT departments to provide solutions to make this easier and faster for even non-experts to use in order to gain valuable insight.

Roy Schulte, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, stated: "Major changes are imminent to the world of BI and analytics, including the dominance of data discovery techniques, wider use of real-time streaming event data and the eventual acceleration in BI and analytics spending when big data finally matures."

He added that the key to this will be the falling cost of gathering, storing and managing data, which is making it much more practical for CIOs to apply BI and analytics operations to a wider variety of situations throughout their company.

The firm predicted that vendors of data analytics tools will shift their focus over the next two years, so that by the end of 2015, the emphasis will be less on reporting data, but analyzing it for deeper insight. Data discovery will also become the prime offering of most BI platforms, as customers look for more help with managing the increasing amounts of information that is available to them.

"BI leaders should scrutinize the road maps of both data discovery and IT-centric vendors to determine their suitability to meet growing business user and enterprise requirements," said Mr Schulte. "It's important to acknowledge that one size rarely fits all."

The firm also forecast than more than half of deployments will make use of information gathered from non-traditional sources, such as machine-to-machine communications and environmental sensors. Mr Schulte said business leaders outside the IT department should make the most of this by drawing up an inventory of what current data is being captured by their products and services, before considering what other high-value information they could be gathering through further instrumentation. 

However, Gartner also warned that despite the growing interest in the potential of big data analytics, there remains a great deal of confusion from business leaders about    how best to use it. The firm's research showed that at present, less than a third of organizations (30 percent) have invested in big data – and only a quarter of these – or eight percent overall – have advanced to the production stage.

As a result of this, spending on big data solutions is likely to be constrained to single-digit growth until 2016. However, by then, a more mature big data environment and the availability of more packaged intellectual property will see big data analytics become more relevant, mainstream and – ultimately – hugely disruptive to businesses in all sectors.